Bible Study Series: The Book of Jude - The Acts of the Apostates
Bible Study Jude vs 7: Sodom, Gomorrah & the last days
By Fraser Gordon
Jude 1:7 As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
This is the third historical example Jude gives of rebellion and unbelief; that no one gets away with sin. First, it was the nation of Israel, second, the angels that left their abode, and the last example is Sodom and Gomorrah.
Outside the boundaries
Jude begins by saying ‘in a similar manner to these’, referring to the angels who went after strange flesh. Sodom and Gomorrah are of the same likeness as the angels and this brings judgement on them. They've’ given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh’, Jude reveals that the problem with Sodom and Gomorrah was sexual. They went outside the boundaries God set in the same way the angels did.
2 Peter 2:6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; 7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)
Sodom and Gomorrah are given as an example for all mankind. We know that God judges ungodly and sexual behaviour that is outside God’s boundaries. Lot is intertwined with the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. As Peter says, Lot is declared a righteous man, even though his conduct as we shall see, is somewhat doubtful. Sodom and Gomorrah tormented his soul by what he saw and heard about their lawless deeds.
The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah
Genesis 19:1a Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening,
We are introduced to two angels. In Genesis 18 three men came to talk with Abraham. One was the Lord Jesus Christ (a coming of Christ before he took on humanity). Abraham entertained them, fed them and talked with them. Two of them were angels and one was the Lord Jesus Christ.
Genesis 18:20-22 And the Lord said, "Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, 21 I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know." 22 Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord.
The two angels that came with the Lord to discuss the events of Sodom and Gomorrah with Abraham went on to Sodom to see if the outcry that had come before the Lord was justified. The Lord himself stayed with Abraham and conversed with him about what He was about to do.
Lot dwelt in the cities
Genesis 19:1b and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground.
How did Lot find himself at the gate in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah? Abraham came from Ur of the Chaldees with Lot and they both had many livestock.
Genesis 13:6-9 Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together. 7 And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land. 8 So Abram said to Lot, "Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left."
Here is a contrast between Abraham, a man of faith and Lot, his nephew. Abraham was willing to let this man choose wherever he wanted to go and Abraham's land would be whatever the Lord desired. Abraham was a man that dwelt in tents and the Lord was to be his inheritance.
Genesis 13:10-12 And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. 11 Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other. 12 Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom.
Lot chose what he viewed as good land, pleasing to the eye, and good for his flocks. It was well watered and like the garden of the Lord. He picked what was good for himself and his material wealth. Then we read further on in Chapter 19 that he is sitting at the gate of Sodom which was where the judges of the city met all those that came in. He has a seat as an official judge and has worked his way into the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. He chose with his natural eye what would benefit him the most. We see God's perspective in Genesis 13:13. But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord. Lot didn't look from God’s perspective but his own worldly viewpoint.
Genesis 19:2 And he said, "Here now, my lords, please turn in to your servant's house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way." And they said, "No, but we will spend the night in the open square."
These two angels had come to view what was happening so they wanted to stay in the open.
The militant group
Genesis 19:3 But he insisted strongly; so they turned in to him and entered his house. Then he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. 4 Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. 5 And they called to Lot and said to him, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally."
Notice that all the men, the young and the old came and wanted to know the two visitors carnally, meaning to rape them. This was the problem in the city - homosexuality. Jude likens the sexual sin of the angels in Genesis 6 to the sexual sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. Whether they knew they were angels or not it was sexual relations of an angelic kind.
Genesis 19:6-8 So Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him, 7 and said, "Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly! 8 See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof."
There are some passages in the Bible that I don't understand, and this is one of them. How on earth could Lot offer his virgin daughters to the crowd? All the men of the city are outside his door, all of them. And he offers his daughters in place of these two visitors. As a parent I don't understand why he would even entertain such a thought. What about laying down your life to protect your family? Why not offer yourself up?
Genesis 19:9-10 And they said, "Stand back!" Then they said, "This one came in to stay here, and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them." So they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near to break down the door.
There was no respect given to Lot. Even though he had a seat at the gate and was a judge over the city. There's no respect given to him as an official whatsoever by this militant group. They would deal with Lot worse than the angels. That was Lots’ predicament: if he didn't give them what they wanted, they would deal with him worse than what they were going to do with the two strangers.
Genesis 19:10-11 But the men reached out their hands and pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. 11 And they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they became weary trying to find the door.
The men of the city were struck with a judgement by these angels. They were blind, but notice they didn't stop looking for the doorway until they became weary. They still pursued what they wanted, even though blindness had come on them. It's almost the type of Romans 1, God has given them over.
Escape for your life!
Genesis 19:12 Then the men said to Lot, "Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city--take them out of this place! 13 For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it." 14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, "Get up, get out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city!" But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking.
Even though Lot was a righteous man living in a wicked city, he didn't have much of a testimony. When he urged his sons in law to leave they laughed and thought he was joking. How much influence did Lot have? It seems not a lot, even though he was an official. The Sodomites were going to deal worse with him because he didn't give them what they wanted and his sons in law didn't listen to the warning that Lot gave them. The sin of Sodom was homosexuality and the Bible is clear in Leviticus 18.22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. Leviticus 20.13 is similar. Scripture is clear that homosexuality is an abomination. It is a going after flesh of a different kind, not in the order that God has prescribed for man and woman to be together and to procreate. It's going after strange flesh. In the Old Testament if men were caught in this act they were stoned. All the men of the city wanted to know these angels carnally - they wanted to have sexual relations with them. For these reasons God was going to bring a judgement on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Genesis 19:15 When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, "Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city." 16 And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife's hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17 So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, "Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed." 18 Then Lot said to them, "Please, no, my lords! 19 Indeed now, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have increased your mercy which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest some evil overtake me and I die. 20 See now, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live."
The Angels had already told Lot to get out and escape to the mountains. But Lot is afraid and he wants to go to a little city. Lot’s heart has turned again toward the worldly things in life. He would have been safe in the mountains, the Lord or the angels would have taken care of him. He didn’t have any confidence in the Lord though, he's afraid he'll die.
Genesis 19.21 And he said to him, "See, I have favored you concerning this thing also, in that I will not overthrow this city for which you have spoken. 22 Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you arrive there." Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. 23 The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. 24 Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
They were instructed not to look back. God's judgement was coming on this place. They were to have no part whatsoever to do with Sodom and Gomorrah not even look back at it. We go on a narrow path in one direction and God's judgement is coming upon the ungodly and the wicked. Lot’s wife looked back and became a pillar of salt - her heart was still in Sodom. Interestingly in verse 24 we have two Jehovah figures ‘the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah from the Lord out of the heavens. Remember in Genesis 18 three men visited Abraham. One of them is the Lord - the Lord Jesus Christ appearing as the Angel of the Lord. In verse 24 there is the Lord on earth raining brimstone and fire from the Lord in heaven. These are two Jehovah figures and a picture of the Trinity. There are a few Old Testament examples of the trinity and this is one of them.
The wrath of abandonment
Our culture is moving very quickly in the same direction and Jude says that Sodom and Gomorrah are an example for those that live sexually immoral lives. The wrath of abandonment is when society is given over to the wickedness of its sin.
Romans 1:24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
Verses 26 and 27 are talking about the sin of homosexuality, they exchanged what is natural for the unnatural. When people push God away and want nothing to do with Him the wrath of abandonment will be a judgement on them. That is what’s happening now. We often think about the wrath of God as fire and brimstone or a judgment like the flood. But there are other wraths of God, and this is one of them. It’s in our society at the moment, especially in the West. A man and a woman is God's design but they lust after one another, men with men and women with women.
Romans 1.27 says ‘receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due’. This could be connected to the psychological and physical effects on people that practice homosexuality. There are high suicide rates, drug use, AIDS and other sexual diseases.
Romans 1.28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
God gives them up to their passions, and gives them over to a debased mind. The word debase means unfit, worthless, a mind that is rejected and does not pass the test. It's like the men in Sodom, blinded but still groping militantly for the door. They continued with the wickedness in their hearts. God gives nations, societies, and people over to a debased mind to do that which is not fitting.
Society has moved such a lot even in the short time since I've been a Christian. The bible calls homosexual relations sodomy not an alternative lifestyle. We need to call it for what it is. Our culture has moved and homosexuality is now promoted by our western governments. Corporations are promoting it in advertising and movies, imposing these views on us. The pride movement is becoming more and more militant. There was a parade in the United States recently where they chanted, ‘we're gay, we’re gay and we're coming for your kids’. They are teaching it to our children in schools, no wonder the homeschool movement has grown. Parents are really concerned and it is flooding our culture in an increasingly militant manner. We need to remember that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination to the Lord.
Repentance not compromise
False teachers come into the church and compromise the word of God with the culture of the day. They talk about homosexuality as an acceptable alternative lifestyle, but the Bible is clear, it is sin. Jesus died for sin. If you're a murderer, you murder no more. If you are a thief and you come to the Lord Jesus Christ, you steal no more. If you are a drunkard, you get drunk no more. If you commit adultery and the Lord Jesus Christ has come into your life, you commit adultery no more. It is exactly the same with homosexuality. If you're a homosexual and you become a Christian you do not act in that way anymore. Remember that repentance means to turn away from sin and live a righteous life.
The Bible doesn't condone it or say it’s an alternative lifestyle. Romans says it's unnatural and an abomination. You cannot promote it and you cannot say it's acceptable. I was really encouraged the other day when my kids came back from a young adults meeting at their church. A man spoke to them who had become a christian. He said he had homosexual tendencies and was still attracted to other men, but could see in scripture that it was a sin and not acceptable to God. For that reason he has decided to remain single and not be homosexually active. I was so encouraged because he is putting the Lord first. He understands the word of God and is honouring it, entering into sanctification. For all our tendencies toward sin we need the Lord Jesus Christ. He has come into our life to free and deliver us so we can live righteous lives before Him. We need Jesus for all sin. He is alive and ready to keep all those tendencies subdued so His righteous life might live through us.
We need to stick close to the word of God and not be moved by culture. Sodom and Gomorrah are examples that God judges our actions. Our culture says it's acceptable and that you're narrow minded and judgmental if you do not agree. We need to hold fast to the word of God. Sin is sin and homosexuality is one sin amongst many that Jesus Christ died for.
Jude asks us to heed what happened in Sodom and Gomorrah. God didn't let them get away with it. This is also a picture of what the last days might be like. When the wrath of God is poured out it's always when sin is at its fullest just as in the days of Noah. With Sodom and Gomorrah the outcry went up before the Lord, and God judged it. In Genesis 15.13-16 God also told Abraham that He would use the nation of Israel to judge the sin of the Amorites when it had reached its fullness.
The night is coming
As we get closer to the end life will get harder and darker. When God's wrath is finally poured out, sin will have reached its fullness, then judgement must come. Notice that the men of the city turned against Lot when they couldn’t get what they wanted, and so it will be for us Christians. The scripture that comes to mind is the words of Jesus in John 9:4 I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As we get closer to the end there will be more lawlessness and wickedness. Jude reminds us to remember Sodom and Gomorrah and how God judged them, He always judges sin. He judged his own people in the wilderness, He judged the Angels, and He judged the Gentiles in Sodom and Gomorrah.
Jude used these three examples of lawlessness, rebellion and unbelief likening them to the false teachers that crept in amongst them. Beware of false teachers that condone sin. We need the word of God as our foundation. What is God's view? Lot looked in the natural at the cities and thought they were a good place to prosper but God saw that they were wicked. We always need God's perspective.
Just like Sodom and Gomorrah, as we get closer to the end, we will begin to see an increase in lawlessness, rebellion and unbelief. We may even see militant homosexuality. For all these things, we need the Lord Jesus Christ. I'm thankful to the book of Jude because he reminds us that no one gets away with sin.
God bless you all.